Ashton Applewhite would like us to think differently about growing older. As she writes: "Aging is a natural, lifelong, powerful process that unites us all. So how come so many of us unthinkingly assume that depression, diapers, and dementia lie ahead? Because of ageism -- the last socially sanctioned prejudice." Is aging seen negatively or positively in other language-use such as in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish?
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I think differences in generations and their upbringing can cause beliefs like that. It's a weird thing to address. On one hand, older generations experienced things we didn't; we weren't as medically advanced, they were going through so many wars, there was depression and our country was doing terrible economically. I think all these factors contributed to the belief that people can't grow old gracefully. Most of the people in those generations were exposed to lead, alcohol, and drugs for their entire life. To them, they were lucky if they reached their 60s. On the other hand, especially with social media, we're exposed to so much content and people that our sense of age has become sort of warped. A lot of people my age struggle with anxiety when it comes to their age despite only turning 20. 30 is the new 20 but at the same time, 30 is still old. I think it also ties back to patriarchy. As women grow older, in society's eyes, they 'start to lose value'. I don't see the issue with ageism or age related anxiety with men as often as I see it with women.
I speak Arabic and I think in the language age is spoken about mainly positively. With age comes patience, wisdom, insight, etc. Elders are seen as pillars of the community and their age is a big factor on why people rely on them. Of course sometimes it has the opposite effect; where people use their age to try and justify wrong behaviour by saying things like 'I'm right because I'm older and have lived longer' which can cause younger people to not want to participate and share ideas.